Had he lived, seminal Southern rocker Elvis Presley would have turned 65 over the weekend. Southern Culture on the Skids played the 9:30 club Friday night. Coincidence? Maybe, but it was an oddly appropriate one. With its irreverent postmodern take on rockabilly and sweaty R&B, SCOTS swings as liberally between the gaudy and the sublime as the King did.
As usual, front man Rick Miller played the hick to the hilt between songs, musing in an exaggerated drawl about mobile homes, waterin' holes and other white-trash cliches. Miller's act would be a lot more condescending if he weren't actually from North Carolina, but to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, one wonders if he's from the South just for the jokes.
Anyone who could tolerate the empty shtick was rewarded once the band kick-started into another number. Blessed with a powerhouse rhythm section consisting of crack drummer Dave Hartman and bassist Mary Huff, SCOTS knows how to lock into a killer roadhouse groove with skill and, yes, soul. After 15 years of mining the same stylistic territory, musicianship redeems the band. It's the only thing separating SCOTS from "Weird Al" Yankovic.
Opening act Blue Balls Deluxe played a charming set of straight-ahead honky-tonk country.